Greater than 300 picketers demonstrated outdoors the headquarters of the Covina-Valley Unified College District on Wednesday morning as negotiators started last-ditch efforts to keep away from a lecturers strike scheduled for Thursday within the 13,400-student college system.
A major level of competition is proposed adjustments to well being advantages. The district wish to arrange a two-tiered system, beneath which the dependents of recent staff would have strict caps on healthcare spending. The union needs to take care of the established order, beneath which all members of the family have the identical advantages, with fewer restrictions on the quantity accessible for medical providers.
The 2 sides additionally haven’t reached full settlement on compensation, though they’re shut when it comes to the elevate union members would obtain for the already concluded 2021-2022 college 12 months.
“We predict that we are able to get shut on wage” and different points, stated Adam Hampton, president of the Covina Unified Schooling Assn. “The set off is healthcare.”
“I would like to stay up for the youthful lecturers,” stated Susan Ricker, a studying specialist and longtime instructor at Manzanita Elementary College in Covina. “The younger lecturers out right here. They should reside out of our district as a result of they don’t make sufficient cash to reside right here. They will have younger households. They will’t afford the insurance coverage.”
District officers declined to be interviewed, however launched an announcement Wednesday.
“We’re disheartened that union time, expertise and vitality would give attention to a strike fairly than attempting to achieve an settlement, particularly contemplating that Covina-Valley lecturers are among the many highest paid and have — and can proceed to have beneath the district’s proposal — among the finest medical advantages packages in your entire area.”
Negotiations started at 9 a.m., shortly after the rally.
The district assertion added that officers are “hopeful that we are able to resolve our variations and are available to an settlement.”
Whereas an settlement over advantages may avert a strike, the 2 sides nonetheless would have a lot work to do. As with different union contracts, both aspect can deliver up various points beneath an present, ratified contract. These are known as “reopeners.” These points — although small in quantity — can embrace wage negotiations. In Covina-Valley, the earlier lecturers contract, which expired on the finish of June, has unsettled points over compensation and the way the instances of scholars with disabilities will likely be managed.
Individually, the 2 sides then should attain an settlement for the present college 12 months and past beneath a totally bargained new contract.
The varsity system serves Covina, West Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, Irwindale and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. It has 9 elementary faculties, three center faculties, three complete excessive faculties, a continuation college and a web-based college in addition to preschool and grownup schooling.
Near 70% of district college students are from low-income households and about 80% are Latino.
The district employs about 575 lecturers. The morning demonstration, which started at 6:30 a.m., additionally included some dad and mom and college students. The lecturers union additionally represents the district’s nurses and speech pathologists.